Adopting a pet lends itself to a raft of positive contributions for seniors who make that leap.
When people get older, they begin to worry about companionship, especially when any loved ones move out permanently. Seniors may be vulnerable most of all and when the issue is brought up to a medical professional for a solution, they might suggest one idea: get a pet.
Benefits of having a pet
A pet will want to be out and about, prompting a senior to go out and walk with them. Regular strolls have been found to improve a senior’s cardio health, mobility, and mental dexterity from the flow of stimuli through experiencing various environments. If the pet is well-fed at home, getting out may be the opportunity to manage their weight.
A pet can be familiar with a schedule for exercise and when they come to the senior at the appropriate time, they will know when it’s time to go. You may be walking through a public space anywhere in Australia and chance upon a senior and their pet on the move.
If a senior adopts an infant pet and eventually logs many years looking after them, the person may have built a resistance to allergies.
A wife character in a drama series once lamented to her husband, “My life is ending. I don’t want to turn 60 with no one to talk to.” A pet may be a chance to ease that loneliness.
The mental component of adopting a pet works in more ways than people may realise. One main point is that the presence of a pet eases a senior’s potential depression and rebuilds their self-confidence and self-esteem.
If the senior has raised a family before, a pet may rebuild the person’s parental instincts and dedicate more effort to take care of the pet. However, if the senior used to have a pet before but passed away, great care must be taken to ensure that the new pet will not remind the person of their lost one (e.g. buying a new dog that may be of the same breed as a previous canine).
A pet of sufficient size may even be a protective deterrent for the senior, giving them a relative sense of security. Given adequate training, pets like guard dogs may sense danger and warn the resident.
Choosing a pet
There are various animals that have been judged as notable for care under seniors.
- Dogs. “Man’s best friend” is always at the top of the list. They are playful, caring and unquestionably loyal. Some pet experts state that choosing a specific breed of dog may depend on a senior’s level of mobility, their lifestyle, and the type of residence. Size is also important, smaller dogs like corgis may be cuddly but are tripping hazards, and bigger ones like Leonbergers may topple the person. Some seniors may have vision problems, which may lead to the possibility of adopting a pet to aid them, such as a guide dog.
- Cats. Cats are low-maintenance in the sense they may not require as much attention as dogs. They may be brought to a community centre and will not annoy other people and their pets.
- Fish. Fish in aquariums can provide a calming effect when watched. The major element of maintaining them is to set up the water to the right pH level, putting fish in the same tank alongside species it normally coexists with, and to set up the aquarium with a quality filter and air pump. Fish store owners and aquarium vendors may also help with tips on aquarium maintenance.
- Birds. Like cats, birds are also low-maintenance. They mostly need to be kept in a cage and flight feathers are trimmed. Choosing birds may be beneficial as their singing or talking may be therapeutic to seniors who are happy when they have a living subject to talk to. However, birds can live several years, warranting a need to have another loved one take care of them if the person passes away.
Some may even suggest adopting robo-pets, which are simply companion robot toys with features identical to real animals, such as dogs or cats. They also behave like real animals.
Robopets have had notable success in the Australian aged-care community; a test study by Griffith University Prof. Wendy Moyle, for example, involved the deployment of the Paro robo-seal toy to 28 Queensland nursing homes, with 415 dementia patients as their wards. The results indicated improved positive moods amongst the patients.
Senior pets may also be an option. They are simply those that are advanced in age and more experienced. Some may recommend adopting a senior pet to reduce the strain in an elderly person.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage can aid in the acquisition of a pet. The money from the loan may be budgeted towards the initial costs of acquiring the pet, registration as well as financing medical support including regular consultations with the vet and vaccinations.
If a senior elects to live in an Aged-care facility and is allowed to bring a pet along, the presence of the pet may also encourage interactions with other people. The same effect also applies when a senior living independently gets out and begins interacting with other pet owners, some of whom may encourage the person to have more meet-ups and join a local pet club.
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